The American Academy of Pediatrics – – representing more than 60,000 qualified pediatricians – – has spoken up about the dangers of Facebook for teens prone to low self-esteem or depression.
Some people believe that Facebook can also make adults feel depressed, but the updated American Academy of Paediatrics social media guidelines points out that practitioners should look at whether teenagers who use the social network obsessively show signs of anxiety.
Although doctors disagree about whether Facebook simply allows for teenagers’ natural propensity to depression to continue online, or whether Facebook creates new anxieties, O’Keefe seems to be of the opinion that the social network might be harmful to kids already dealing with signs of depression.
Just like Stanford psychologist Alex Jordan wrote in his own article, “Misery Has More Company Than People Think,” O’Keefe also points out that Facebook’s status updates, photos, and friend lists are some of the features that naturally make some teens want to boast about their happy, accomplished, fun lives, while others – – those prone to be lonelier or more depressed – – sit and watch. The contrast can make the latter group of kids feel like they don’t measure up, according to O’Keefe.
The updated social media guidelines from AAP urge doctors to talk to parents and encourage them to have conversations with their kids about the online world. The guidelines also urge parents to ask their children for permission to see their Facebook profiles, and to develop a mutual agreement with them about who they should and shouldn’t friend on the social network.
Do you agree that spending a lot of time on Facebook can have a negative impact on teenagers’ self-esteem? As a parent, what are some of the policies you would or have developed with your child to better monitor his online activities?